Nestled in the northern reaches of Botswana, Chobe is a wildlife enthusiast's dream come true. Covering a sprawling 11,700 square kilometres, this renowned national park is celebrated for its incredible biodiversity and is often considered one of Southern Africa's premier safari destinations.
Chobe National Park owes its lush and vibrant ecosystem to its extensive network of waterways. The heart of this wilderness is the majestic Chobe River, which winds its way through the park. During the dry season, this life-giving river serves as a magnet, attracting a multitude of animals and a rich diversity of birdlife.
The journey to Chobe National Park begins in the charming town of Kasane, nestled near the convergence of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia's borders. Kasane serves as the perfect launchpad for your safari adventure, offering a range of accommodations to suit every traveller's preference. Whether you prefer the comforts of hotels, the rustic charm of tented camps, or the luxury of lodges, Kasane has it all. From this point, you can seamlessly transfer to your chosen accommodation within or around Chobe National Park.
Chobe is a haven for nature lovers, characterized by a mosaic of diverse ecosystems and teeming wildlife. Famed for its massive elephant populations, big herds of buffalo (matched only by some large lion prides) and incredible birdlife, Chobe will leave an everlasting memory. The park is renowned for its pristine landscapes, encompassing floodplains, lush woodlands, and the meandering Chobe River. Each region within the park and its surrounds offers a unique blend of experiences, making it a versatile destination for all types of travellers.
If you're a first-time traveller to this remarkable destination, allow us to guide you as we delve into the wonders of Botswana's Chobe region.
Tucked away between the Chobe National Park self-drive area to the east and the Okavango Delta to the south, Linyanti is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts seeking a unique and untouched safari experience.
At the heart of this pristine wilderness lies the captivating Savute area, a haven that beckons with its awe-inspiring biodiversity. Savute boasts a diverse array of species found in the Chobe region, with the notable exception of water-loving antelope. It offers a harsh and desert-like landscape in the dry season (May to October), where the now-flowing Savute channel provides a lifeline for wildlife.
This contrasts dramatically with the rainy season (November to April), where the seasonal pans fill with water. At this time, the Savute Marsh and its surroundings are covered with lush green vegetation that attracts an annual migration of zebra and wildebeest and an abundance of birdlife.
The sand ridge, Ghoha Hills, and the dead trees on the Savute Marsh offer some spectacular photographic opportunities. The Savute Marsh has been the stage for many of Africa's most dramatic wildlife documentaries, such as National Geographics Savage Kingdom series. The vast open country, good ungulate populations and hardened pride of lion and hyena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. The marsh is prime for predators.
The centrepiece of Savute is the enigmatic Savute Channel. This waterway weaves its way for around 100 kilometres from the Linyanti River and is home to the legendary Channel Pride of lion, well known for their daytime hunting and activities. This channel carries the river's waters through the vast expanse of the Savute Marsh and onwards to the Mababe Depression, nourished by the Ngwezumba River from the northeast. The Mababe, once a part of the Makgadikgadi super-lake, is now a flat expanse fringed by lush thickets of trees. When filled with water, it transforms into a haven for migratory birds and awe-inspiring herds of zebra.
Savute's geography is a realm of fascinating curiosities, none more intriguing than the unpredictable flow of the Savute channel itself. Over the past century, this waterway has mysteriously dried up and then resumed its flow multiple times. Some attribute this phenomenon to plate tectonics, resulting in the haunting sight of dead trees lining the channel's path. These trees flourish during periods of drought, only to be submerged when the channel awakens once more.
The expansive Kwando, Selinda, and Linyanti concessions lie in this remote corner of Botswana, where the Chobe and Okavango converge. These breathtaking landscapes offer unparalleled wildlife encounters and vistas, rivalling the beauty of the Okavango.
Much like the Okavango River, the Kwando River journeys southward from Angola, meandering through the Caprivi Strip and spilling its life-giving waters into the Linyanti Swamps. These swamps give birth to a tapestry of stunning natural features – tranquil channels, picturesque lagoons, and flourishing papyrus stands. Alongside these waterways stand proud riparian forests punctuated by towering trees that evoke a sense of wonder.
Stretching along the riverside is the Kwando to the northwest, Selinda (covering 1350 square kilometres) to the south, and Linyanti (encompassing 1250 square kilometres) to the east. The Chobe National Park makes a small but impactful appearance, meeting the Linyanti River and its surrounding swamps. Here, self-drive campers will find government facilities, while the concessions offer private campsites for a more exclusive experience.
When the dry season takes hold, the Kwando and Linyanti Rivers become vital migration points for wildlife across northern Botswana. As herds of buffalo and elephants, alongside wildebeests and zebras, gather around these permanent water sources, you'll witness nature's timeless spectacle.
Within these concessions, an extraordinary range of antelope and predators can be spotted, contingent upon the season and the availability of food and water. From elegant waterbucks and elusive sitatungas to prowling lions, stealthy leopards, and agile cheetahs – the wildlife display is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Yet, the true allure of this remote corner of Botswana lies in its ability to transport you into a realm of isolation and detachment from the outside world. Here, small, intimate camps host a limited number of guests ranging from six to only a few dozen. Amidst the vastness of nature, with no distractions but the rustling bush and a captivating cast of wild inhabitants, you'll find the adventure of a lifetime.
FEATURED PROPERTY: SAVUTE CAMP
Savute Camp is a beautifully built safari camp overlooking the Savute Channel, right in the heart of Wilderness Safaris private Linyanti Concession, in northern Botswana.
This classic and authentic safari camp offers wooden flooring and raised walkways. The central area is a large, open-sided thatch and wood structure decorated with typical Botswana basketwork and artefacts. The dining area, elevated bar and large viewing deck offer great views, often with masses of elephants visiting the camp's permanent waterhole. Savute lends itself to good old-fashioned hospitality, and a busy fire pit provides excellent warmth and atmosphere as we have come to expect from a top-class African bush lodge.
The Linyanti Concession is a private reserve; allowing Savute Camp guests to conduct night drives, and the open 4x4 safari vehicles are allowed to drive off the road, enabling guests phenomenal close up views of what the African savannah has to offer. Catch and release fishing is permitted on the permanent waterways and boating is generally possible depending on water levels.
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FEATURED PROPERTY: DUMATAU CAMP
DumaTau, meaning ‘roar of the lion,’ is located in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve on the western boundary of Chobe National Park. The area is famed for large herds of elephants and exceptional game viewing along the Savute Channel.
Nestled deep within the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, on the northernmost fringe of Botswana, lies DumaTau Camp Botswana. With unique access to both the Linyanti River and Savuti Channel, the reserve’s diverse, pristine 126 000-hectares (311 353-acres) offers truly exclusive excursions and close-up wildlife encounters.
All seven twin tented suites and one family unit, with private plunge pools, sit on elevated wooden decks mere steps from the wildlife corridors, so game often wander peacefully through the camp. An inviting indoor lounge, spacious bathroom which includes indoor and outdoor showers – feature interiors of hand-crafted mosaic tiles, acacia wood, and local textiles which reflect the heart of the Linyanti.
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FEATURED PROPERTY: SELINDA CAMP
Nestled on the banks of the Selinda Spillway, as it merges with the Linyanti River, Selinda Camp offers a remarkable retreat in one of our planet's last pristine wilderness areas. Set within the private 130,000-hectare Selinda Reserve, this enchanting camp is renowned for its abundant wildlife, including some of Africa's largest elephant populations. Immerse yourself in the true spirit of Africa as you explore the remote and captivating surroundings teeming with a diverse range of species and rare animals.
As a proud member of Relais and Chateaux, Selinda Camp embodies the convergence of three cultures: European, Mokololo, and Bayei. The camp's design draws inspiration from the thatched village of Sangwali, creating a captivating ambience that reflects the enduring themes of spears, shields, and an African version of Robinson Crusoe.
At Selinda Camp, immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Botswana, creating lifelong memories as you explore the wilderness and indulge in the finest accommodations and hospitality.
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FEATURED PROPERTY: LINYANTI TENTED CAMP
Linyanti Tented Camp is unrivalled in its remoteness and sense of space; this intimate little safari camp overlooks the Linyanti Marsh and floodplains in Northern Botswana's Linyanti Wildlife Reserve.
The reserve is bordered by two iconic watercourses – the Linyanti River to the north, and the sporadic and unusual watercourse of the Savuti Channel to the south. Linyanti Tented Camp Botswana is ideal for families and small groups, offering a magnificent, private safari adventure.
The camp is split into two smaller camps (East and West), each side offering four large, airy en-suite tents designed to recreate the accommodation style of the early explorers, while the camps as a whole are an expression of authentic connection with river, land and wildlife.
Built on a slightly raised deck with striking views, the camp's main area is ideal for watching the passing wildlife spectacle.
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